Cradle to grave: The method matters
Life cycle assessment is part of Orion’s ambitious climate work.
"Life cycle assessment is an important tool for us. It enables us to identify and focus on the most significant environmental impacts that our products have during their life cycles."
– Noora Paronen, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Orion
When assessing the environmental impacts of our products, we must take into account their entire life cycles and the interrelations between impacts. This is why Orion relies on life cycle assessment (LCA), which is a method to comprehensively analyse the environmental impacts of a product or service throughout its life cycle. It identifies, for example, the phases during which a product’s environmental impacts are at their highest, as well as assessing how the product affects natural environments during its life cycle, from the sourcing of raw materials to discarding the product.
The climate impact of a product – that is, its carbon footprint – can be determined as part of its life cycle assessment. For example, the carbon footprint of Orion’s family of dry powder inhalers was calculated in 2021, and some of the products underwent a more comprehensive life cycle assessment two years earlier. According to the analysis, a major part of the emissions related to a product is generated in the supply chain outside the company’s own operations.
Environmental issues, and thereby also matters related to climate, are part of Orion’s supplier requirements, risk assessments and supplier management. Orion will increasingly be investing in these aspects; after all, carbon neutrality across the value chain can only be achieved through cooperation.
Carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced, and we are investing in decreasing our carbon footprint. Life cycle assessment shows us the points at which our products burden the environment the most and have the highest environmental impacts. We need an accurate tool to show where we should target our measures to reduce environmental impacts.
What we do here at Orion to reduce the carbon footprint of our products is important, but the life cycle assessment of our products also involves requirements for our partners. We are also raising the bar by requiring concrete action from the entire supply chain on the path to carbon neutrality.
The carbon footprint of an Orion dry powder inhaler is 0.580 kg CO2e over its entire life cycle, which is very small compared with that of an aerosol inhaler. It equals a few kilometres driven by car. Carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) are used to measure the climate impact of greenhouse gases produced by people.